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Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Jocelyne Khoueiry

God,

May she rest in peace.

May her nation simply rest.

Compelled by civil war, the young woman took up arms to defend her people.

She later laid them down, as religion moved from identity to faith.

God, does Lebanon need the same?

Can faith demand arms? Is identity for sect or nation?

Which do you desire first?

The Maronite patriarch continued his call for neutrality. The Shiite mufti called it impossible.

Their evidence is the same: Lebanon is surrounded by regional trouble.

Trouble that again spilled over the border.

Claiming infiltration by a Shiite militia, Israel exchanged fire and launched cross-border shells.

The militia denied anything happened at all.

But it will. Their dead fighter in Syria demands retribution.

And if it comes, Israel pledges destruction of infrastructure. The price will be high.

Who benefits? Who wins? Does faith demand arms? Does fidelity to nation?

Does neutrality?

God, guide Lebanon in the necessary discussion.

Calm the region, with justice and peace.

Restore the economy, for fuel and food.

Reform the government, in all transparency.

Convict the heart, to make amends.

The courage of Khoueiry transformed to conviction. Her earlier certainty shifted to service.

Even as killing continued.

Honor her, God, both former and latter. Honor her enemies, who risked life for their cause.

And today honor all, as they repeat the cycle.

Until one day all swords become plowshares. And all men in fullness give honor to you.

May she rest in peace. May she inspire the same.

Amen.


Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.

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Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Rising Tensions

God,

Lebanon feels on the precipice. Perhaps it has already fallen.

Is there a cushion? What impact awaits?

And who will be there to pick up the pieces?

The Maronite patriarch continued his call for neutrality. The president shelved it for other priorities, while a Shiite sheikh said resistance is necessary.

The French welcomed his efforts, urging reform. They then promised aid to the French language schools.

An Israeli strike in Syria killed a Lebanese member of a Shiite militia. They then beefed up the border, following vows to retaliate.

An American fighter in Syria buzzed a civilian flight in route from Iran. Frightened passengers reported injuries from the sudden turbulence.

The government agreed on a central bank audit. An IMF source said officials are stalling, while a judge put a freeze on the governor’s wealth—in advance.

Coronavirus cases continued their steady tick upward. So did unemployment, and the rate of inflation.

God, what happens next? What should?

If a call to neutrality serves to divide, is it of you? Many meddle in Lebanon; do you also have favorites?

And inside of Lebanon, is there solution? If money dries up, what about medicine?

Some citizens weep. Others go dance.

You ask your people to be with them both.

God, bless this nation.

Give it wisdom to distance from regional tensions. Give it strength to support every cause that is just.

Give it discernment, to judge well its friends.

God, bless these people.

Give them commitment to weed out corruption. Give them repentance for personal share.

Give them your healing, in body and soul.

If tensions are rising, God, perhaps you are moving. Perhaps you’ll divide the wheat and the tares.

Be merciful. Be just. Be gentle.

Lift the nation. Unite it together.

Guide it to righteousness. Guide it to peace.

Amen.


Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.

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Prayers

Lebanon Prayer: Patriarch’s Plea

God,

Lebanon is a small state. Yet it is full of many peoples.

Sects—to be fair. They are one people. Or are they?

Since its inception Lebanon has struggled to craft an identity.

Is it European? Is it Arab? Is it Syrian? Is it Phoenician?  

Is it free?

So to be free they struck a pact. West and East, a bridge between.

And many then trampled upon it.

God in these times of trouble, strengthen Lebanon’s foundations.

The leader of one sect put forward his vision. The Maronite patriarch called for neutrality.

And again. And again. Forcefully.

And then he labeled a culprit. A Shiite party holds hegemony, pulling the nation East.

Is he right?

Should he speak?

The Shiite cleric says they defend the nation from the South. They have no objection to help from the West.

Others in Lebanon say sects are the problem. Let men of religion stick to their faith.

Two politicians of a Christian sect formed a national salvation front, calling for more protests.

And from the original protest movement, several formed a national civil front, urging the same.

Many answered. Far fewer than before.

God, bless the patriarch. He calls to what he believes is Lebanon’s founding.

Its original pact.

As a cleric, honor him in defense of his sect. And direct him as he seeks to transcend it.

Bless the Shiite party. They call to what they believe is Lebanon’s interest.

Its essential resistance.

As a cleric, honor him in defense of his sect. And direct him as he seeks to transcend it.

And for those who find ill in the sects to begin with, or those who condemn the political class, or any in public who work for their nation—bless them also.

Where their cause is just—rally them in peace and unity.

Where they find a better way—commit them to paths of inclusive reform.

God, many in Lebanon have a plea. Most call out for the common good. Some—with daily increase—are in dire need of individual rescue.

Give Lebanon consensus. Give Lebanon sovereignty.

Span the gulf between the peoples with the bridge of your favor. Make them one, as you are one.

Amen.


Lebanon Prayer places before God the major events of the previous week, asking his favor for the nation living through them.

It seeks for values common to all, however differently some might apply them. It honors all who strive on her behalf, however suspect some may find them.

It offers no solutions, but desires peace, justice, and reconciliation. It favors no party, but seeks transparency, consensus, and national sovereignty.

How God sorts these out is his business. Consider joining in prayer that God will bless the people and establish his principles, from which all our approximations derive.

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Prayers

Friday Prayers in Egypt

God,

Give Egypt patience, hope, stamina, and faith. As events wind down, they are also heating up. Guide Egypt through these critical days.

A protest scheduled today attracted only a few hundred people. It seems the revolutionary phase is ending, and the state building phase is underway. Election laws are being issued, parties and candidates jockey for position, and one wonders if the street is engaged at all. Yet it may be premature to declare the revolution over; major protests are threatened if the elections are postponed, while labor and student groups continue to agitate despite an increase in legal consequence.

God, does idealism have expiration? Does pragmatism necessitate manipulation? How should hope and faith balance with patience and stamina? Give revolutionaries, politicians, public servants, and leaders a keen will to continue seeing Egypt through to freedom, peace, dignity, and democracy. May they get their hands dirty but keep their hearts clean. Give strength, God, give belief.

God, give perspective. Help the people see and appreciate what has been accomplished, even as vision is necessary to keep the end goal in mind. Regardless of the system to come, God, may it be one that respects the people, hold leaders accountable, and operates without corruption. May it facilitate life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness in the universal and most moral sense.

May those now engaged in crafting this system respect one another, putting the public good over individual or party interest. God, mutual suspicions abound, and may be deserved. Yet do not let fear drive the creation of the new state, God. May it be built upon sublime principles which honor your creation. May it yield to majority without infringing on minority. May it acknowledge the inviolability of the individual, and the nobility of group and custom. God, protect Egypt, but more, unleash her. Give the people rise to shape their own destiny. May she know peace; may she know strength. God, may this be for the good of all.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

An odd participant rejoined the revolution today – Egypt’s version of football hooligans. Feeling oppressed by the police, with colleagues in custody after an altercation, they chose today to rally with other revolutionary forces. After a quiet Ramadan, many were longing for reengagement.

Thank you, God, for their restraint. Before descending to Tahrir they vowed revenge against security, but despite protests in many locations, there were few altercations.

Yet bless their tongues, God. There was no restraint on their cursing, with vile words hurled at police and their families. Many others cheered them on, celebrating their passion and anger. You can redeem anger, God, but there is a better way. Help those protesting to find it. Help them to bless, and not curse. Help them to display the worth of their cause, and shame their opponents with kindness. This may not be in the nature of a hooligan, but you can change their hearts, God. Help them to win the police, not deepen the divide.

Elsewhere the demonstrators demolished a wall, recently constructed to block off the Israeli Embassy. Repeating the hailed bravery of two weeks earlier, some climbed the walls and lowered their flag. Once is clever, twice is amateurish – both are wrong.

God, there are reasons for hostility between Egypt and Israel; work to correct these and bring justice and reconciliation. Yet so many Egyptians made a revolution for dignity, and now some undo these gains willingly, and eagerly. Teach these ones – frustrated by an inability to politically respond to Israel as they wish – that dignity is built on respect. Yes, they believe their nation to be disrespected, but they are responsible for themselves. Restore honor to Egypt, God, and help her as a nation to treat others as she would be treated. Help her to resist oppression and aid the weak, but from a position of moral strength, not theatrics. Grant these few the eyes to see themselves, and to repent.

Yet before today began, God, protests were not driven by revolutionaries but by laborers. Pressure is building on the government as it must respond throughout the country to those long aggrieved, who now seek redress. They have been asked to postpone their causes until stability returns; they have also been threatened for the same. Yet they continue: Is it courage or selfishness, commitment or desperation?

God, grant them wisdom, as well as to those who must weigh their concerns against national interest. May negotiations be fair, God. May parties seek the collective interest of all. May Egypt see its economy lifted, that all might benefit, and none might exploit. Balance the scales, God; bring justice and peace.

For so long Egypt was run with an iron grip, haphazardly. So much now seems to run only on inertia, chugging along, tinkering with the system. Give wisdom to ruling authorities, God; give grace to the people. Preserve this great country through difficult times, that she might be strong once again in due time. Yet as she grows strong, may she also grow good. May Egypt reflect your righteousness, God; may she be a land of peace and prosperity.

Amen.

 

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Does Egypt matter to you? Does America? Does Israel? Does Kiribati? You care about people, God, and there is confidence you care about peoples, also. But do you care about nations? Do you care about borders? These are man-made constructs; do they concern you much, or at all?

It has been a quiet week in Egypt, God, and we thank you for this. Ramadan has ended, which may open more protests. Sort the good from the bad, God, and honor all who are striving to improve the lot of those they represent, even if wrong. Guide Egypt through the upcoming election season, which nervously intersected with the end of Ramadan – as usual, but perhaps amplified, for good or for ill. These local human efforts touch individual lives at the corner of Main and Elm, or Istiklal and Shuhada. Bless those who work for the improvement of their communities, and curb those motivated solely by ambition.

But what of those at higher levels, God? What of the bankers, financiers, oil barons/sheikhs, media personalities, military generals, and corporate heads around the world? Rumors of these have encircled Egypt from the days of the revolution, and long before. Much has been achieved through simple human bravery. Much has aimed to restore dignity, to help the poor, and to purge corruption. Bless these efforts, God, and the people who have brought them to bear.

Yet is there anything greater at work, God? As there are those who plaster campaign posters, there are those who cast votes at the United Nations. There are those who set interest rates. There are those who determine the nightly newscast. Their daily routines may not rub elbows with an elderly widow or a local grocer, but their decisions fall on thousands like them.

Keep these accountable, God. Preserve their humanity. Give them deep commitment to improve the lives of ordinary people. For whatever system or era or philosophy they guide this world through, may it result in good.

So does it matter, God, if this good is for Imbaba, or for Egypt, or for North Africa, or the Arab world, or the Western world, or the globe as a whole in ever expanding networks of interconnectedness? As some individuals move the lives of a particular back alley, others move the lives of entire continents. All are your creation, God. All have a conscience. Prick the hearts of the great and mighty, as you do the small and humble. May each bear the responsibility you have given, and fulfill their trust.

God, may Egypt, or if better stated the Egyptians, trust you to provide greater than $2 a day, and greater than $1.3 billion a year. In each case, God, you care deeply about both granter and recipient; lift their dignity and provide justice for all. As they trust, and as they cry out, incline your ear. Yet may their trust be wholehearted; may their cries be righteous.

Bring good to this nation, God. Bring good to this people. Bring good to the world.

Amen.  

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Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

May there be no such thing as a common enemy. For this to happen, much must change.

Egypt’s neighbor is at fault in many issues. It is right for Egypt to press her, to hold her accountable, and to act from a proper sense of sovereignty. For an enemy to disappear, this neighbor must change, and must change radically.

Yet for an enemy to disappear, much harder change must occur internally. Help Egypt to exercise sober judgment. Help her to avoid assumption, generalization, and demonization. Help her to resist a simple populism that calls on the baser nature of humanity. May Egypt be lifted up so as to be righteous – seeking justice firmly and mercy liberally. May she be both strong and humble.

Yet so much conspires against such transformation, God. Both Egypt and her neighbor have benefited from recent tragic events; both have received distractions from other internal problems. Yet five Egyptian officers remain dead, and security issues in the Sinai threaten Egypt and her neighbor alike. God, thank you that so far, cooler heads have prevailed. Thank you that protests were not overwhelming, and that to some degree they are lessening.

Yet God, we praise you for these protests. We praise you that Egypt may no longer allow affronts to her sovereignty to pass unrecognized. But teach and guide the people, God, to issue their protest honorably. May they seek alternate explanations and the perspective of the other. May they recognize the humanity and position of difficulty faced by those they oppose. May they have wisdom and grace to love their enemy, yet never back down.

God, Egypt is still suffering from its past sins. These do not negate the sins of the neighbor, but they must be atoned for all the same. How hard this must be for Egypt to recognize, yet help her to do so. Provide men who will lead Egypt in the way of peace, and in so doing, rebuke her neighbors in her example.

God, gently rebuke also those who have continued in the old ways, on all sides. Break their chains, free their hearts, and strengthen their resolve. May Egypt’s revolution transform all aspects of her character – overflow her goodness, and mend her flaws.

May Egypt come to love her neighbor, God. May one day that neighbor follow suit. May this love be built on your ultimate justice, but not shirk back in waiting for it. Comfort all those dealing with the pain even of contemplation. God, grant forgiveness. Grant it especially to those who call for it, who know nothing of this pain. Comfort, comfort… but only love can heal. May Egypt come to love her neighbor.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Wisdom is needed now, even more than before. Egypt’s troubles have spilled across the border. Many of them may not even be Egypt’s problems, but it is her border. And now, several Egyptian officers are dead, seemingly at the hand of her much reviled neighbor.

God, give a slow hand to those in authority. Amid the outrage, temper the anger of the people. Silence those who will manipulate events to advance an agenda of rejection, hatred, and violence. Appoint people to discover the truth, and then to act appropriately, with whatever necessary severity. God, prevent escalation. Give people hope that justice will come through civil means. Even as there may be little faith, make this your miracle.

God, the recent events make internal arguments pale in comparison. Yet healing is needed here as well. Political groups came together to endorse principles for the coming constitution, then immediately divided again on their nature as guiding or binding. Activists and political forces came together against military trials for civilians, though the issue has not yet settled. Before the events on the border, much rancor enveloped these divisions. Is it any consolation they may now be lessened, or at least suspended?

Politics is struggle, and unanimity is not imagined. God, may each fight fairly. May each be honest, open, and transparent. Even so, enlarge the spheres of agreement, so these disputes may settle on the details.

But if politics is struggle, war is its dreaded continuation by other means. Most prayer is necessary for disputants beyond the border, God. Grant them the wisdom and forbearance which appears in short supply. Bring peace and justice; bring understanding, trust, and love. Such is an impossible cry, God, but these are your currency. For those unable to pray this in the middle of their conflict, accept it God, from those who can intercede for them. God, you hold the heart of the king in your hand. Turn the hearts of all toward peace.

And for Egypt, God, may these developments not spoil her advancements made. Protect her border; rid her of violent men. Yet protect with more tenacity the goodness of the Egyptian people; may they not turn toward hatred. May they see justice satisfied, and may their hearts cry out to you until it comes. Yet fill them with compassion for the unjust and beg your forgiveness upon them, as upon themselves.

God, protect Egypt. May her next steps set a new tone of diplomacy for the region, and may she be a leader for peace.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

As people observe their first full week of Ramadan, honor their fasting.

God, sometimes prayers are hard. What can be asked that has not been asked before?  God, bring good to Egypt. Bring freedom and justice. Restore hope. May more and more turn their hope to you, even as they rightly strive, in whatever direction. Protect Egypt from harm. May this nation know your grace, your love, and may this be lived out among the people. There is so much good here, God. Preserve and multiply it.

Where there is sin, God, forgive and redeem it. Where there is division, heal it. Teach Egypt your way, God, and help her to walk in it. Make this nation great, and an example to all. You have given so many blessings so far. May people, this month especially, reflect and give thanks.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Thank you that the bloodshed of other nations has been largely avoided in Egypt. Where this bloodshed exists, God, intercede and bring peace, along with justice.

But the absence of bloodshed does not mean peace, necessarily. God, many hearts are hardened toward one another. In such a climate, who can weigh motivations? God, in even the best of climates, only you can weigh them.

Do demonstrators push the envelope too far? Do the authorities push back too hard? Are politicians pushed by the winds of interest? Are the people tired of all the pushing?

God, may it be that each of these pursues their path for the love of Egypt. So many are accused of other motivations; undoubtedly, some are.

God, you can redeem contradictory visions that move in different directions. You can even redeem plans that stem from selfish hearts. Do so, God, and purify all in the process.

Purify also from the excess of speculation. Help people to think; help them to perceive. Enliven their spirits to discern right from wrong. Yet curb the rush to pronounce judgment on limited evidence. Add trust to the process, to sufficient degree.

God, so many believed in the revolution, and many believe still. For others, their faith is being tested. May hearts remain pure, soft, and vulnerable, despite hurts inflicted, or suspected. May forgiveness and grace proceed from all parties. Soften words of insult; harden resolve and accountability.

God, bring justice, now on its biggest stage. The president is not above his crimes; may he meet with appropriate punishment, and escape any undue charges. May the law rule; may there be sanction, and not retribution. Revenge, God, is only for you.

Justice helps the heart, God, but it does not heal it. Bring healing to Egypt; she has suffered much for decades. May truth be established for all to see. May reconciliation end in the embrace of all Egyptians.

Yet so many are still fighting, and that over issues far removed from the national cause. Bless the good nature of the people, as so little violence has occurred in the void of security and the proliferation of weapons. Still, the violence increases; stability is needed. God, protect the people.

There is so much unknown, God, yet a calm of sorts has settled. It may be a false calm, or forced, or exhausted. It may not last. But we pray for progress in this transition; we pray for freedom and dignity and justice. We pray for peace. We pray for the authorities, that they may have wisdom to govern. We pray for the people that they might have courage to press on. We pray for all, that they might love one another. God, your hand is needed. Honor Egypt, God. Keep her on the right path, amidst all her challenges. Make her pure, and keep her so.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Is there good from breaking agreements, managing spin, and rejecting the other? Maybe. Hundreds of thousands of people demonstrated freely today. People. People you love, God. People who are valuable. People who strive to make something of themselves for this world. Honor them, God. Protect them from evil.

Protect Egypt, God. Protect her from manipulations. Protect her from agendas. Protect her from her own children. Protect her from those who claim to represent them.

Times are confusing, God. Perhaps they are dangerous. Perhaps the danger is simply manufactured. Yet in confusing times a rock is needed. God, be that rock for many. May the people fear you. May they love you. May they commit themselves to good for your sake.

But God, today it seems the claim to you only serves to divide. It is more than the claim, it is the vision they have of you. When you are involved, too often complexity is replaced by an undue simplicity. Can things be simple? Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly. God, may we weep over anything more complex than this. All the while, help Egypt engage the complexity she now faces.

So if you have become divisive, God, give people the rock of your image in man. It is a lesser rock, but it is firm. May they people rally around their common humanity. May your grace unite them. May each honor the other. May each love the other. May each, beyond comprehension, seek the interest of the other.

God, can Egypt trust this way? Is this your way? Or must they fight, claw, and elbow for each inch of the public arena? Perhaps you are known in that very arena. Reveal yourself, God, to each one fighting for truth as best they know it. Rebuke each one fighting for that which is selfish, however noble the ends, as best they believe them. Be good to Egypt, God. Be merciful.

You have been so good already. Thank you, and help Egypt to be thankful. Help her to see your hand at work amidst the confusion and complexity. Help peace to come. May there be justice for all. May you be praised.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Lines are being drawn in many places. Among the protestors separate groups are emerging, and though they are tangibly united, they toss accusations against one another.

Meanwhile many Islamist groups turn against the protestors, tossing accusations against them, which are returned in kind.

Next week the Islamists call for a major demonstration, and some seem to be calling to overwhelm them in numbers. There is no call for confrontation, but possibilities are there. The sit-in has gone on twelve days already – it took eighteen to remove Mubarak.

The military leadership has acceded to some of the protestors’ demands, but most protestors remain unsatisfied they have done enough. These toss accusations against the military council. Some are calling for escalations in protest to the level of civil disobedience. Some have begun hunger strikes.

God, you know these things, and you know the answers. When lines are drawn many start believing there are good guys to win out against the bad guys. God, may it be that each participant’s intentions are good. God, may it be each is led to repent of their bad conduct in the midst of this struggle, which we trust is still noble.

God, maybe some parties are bad – certainly the conspiracies are advanced in order to label their opposite. If so, prevent them God from violating the greater good of Egypt.

God, within this struggle, help all to commit to peace. Help each to esteem their political opponent. Make the diversity of opinion respectable, so that divergent views might coalesce into the greatest common solution.

Have mercy on Egypt, God. Bring about a nation built upon respect, freedom, justice, and equality. May talents and resources be unleashed for widespread economic gain. May creativity and commitment cause regional blessings to spill out from Egypt. May love become a hallmark of this great people.

But for tonight, God, and this week, keep people safe. As they sleep this evening, help them to evaluate themselves, and seek your wisdom and guidance. Keep commitment steady, God, to the degree it is necessary. But couple this commitment with concern for the other. God, may each pray for his opposite.

Be good to Egypt, God. Bless her and give her peace.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

As things grow more complicated, prayers become more simple: Give Egypt a good government, a good president. Help the people to live in peace. Help them to be united. Grant each one to help.

It is repetitious, God. We pray you are pleased with steadfastness. Grant our request, God, even as we know this prayer must continue for a long time yet. Help us not to tire, or to grow dull.

Bless those who have not tired, nor grown dull. By all accounts these are sacrificing to keep their nation on the right path. Yet not all account them so, and who knows but there may be merits in their doubts. They are young, perhaps foolish; we pray they may not be selfish, nor manipulators. Keep Egypt first in their hearts; keep them pure, keep them honorable. Not a few recent events suggest some may be otherwise.

Bless those who oppose them, God. Bless those who tire of them. Help each to find that which in the other is good. Trust is dissipating quickly, God. Prevent the coming days from devolving into a struggle for interests. Yet what of trust is revolution? Revolution destroys the institutions of trust, even if for good. Help all parties to build trust, since so little of it existed previously. Trust involves risk, and risk invites loss, hurt, and betrayal.

Men are not angels, God; perhaps trust is too much to ask. Give wisdom, then, to help all parties discern who loves their nation, and who is working for their own interest. Both cooperation and competition are desired, but may the duplicitous on all sides be exposed.

Grant special wisdom and patience, God, to the leaders. Their integrity is called into question by many. Only you know the hearts of men, God, but make these hearts pure and resolute. May they not return insult for insult, but blessing. They have been given a heavy trust; may they bear it with gravity. May it not become a burden. May their love for their nation lighten this load.

God, you know the demands of the people: Justice, freedom, dignity. May these come to pass, and may love, chivalry, and respect be added to them. Make Egypt, great, God. Make her people deserving of her.

Amen.

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Tension, excitement, controversy, conspiracy, violence, zeal, folly, persistence, desperation, frustration, confusion. It is difficult to describe all the adjectives experienced in Egypt right now. What will today bring? Thousands will gather across the nation, as they did during the revolution. The police are withdrawing; threats are present. Maybe nothing will happen; maybe today could be monumental – for either good or bad.

God, you know the hearts of all; you determine the course of nations. Give peace to Egypt – to Tahrir, to Alexandria, to Suez. Protect them who have gathered; give them wisdom and mercy.

So much is confusing, God, protect the hearts of all, first and foremost. May they have your zeal for righteousness. May they have your mercy for sinners. May they have your grace towards those who stand in opposition. May they have your wisdom to navigate the challenges ahead of them.

God, many demonstrators suspect their leaders, while much of the population still thanks them for preserving Egypt from a fate like Syria. They are the only order left, and their promises are to return power to civilians. God, they need wisdom more than most. A protestor can afford to press forward recklessly, and to some degree needs to. But a leader must survey the whole situation.

God, you know their hearts. Bless them and guide them to bring about your best society. May they be faithful to their charge, faithful to the people, seeking the good of Egypt, but of none in particular.

Much fury, God, falls on the police. Manipulated for decades to serve the regime, they stand in the middle of so many factions, which does not mean necessarily that they stand aloof. But neither are they monolithic. Help those angry with them to differentiate between the system – still in need of reform – with the individuals – many in need of forgiveness. May those police of pure heart distinguish themselves; may they ensure the good conduct of their colleagues.

God, almost all political forces have come to demonstrate today. It is good they keep the unity of the moment, but much divides them. Keep these forces safe, even from one another. The scene is charged, God; misunderstandings may be common, and provocation possible. May they not implode from the pressures.

God, nearly all praise the revolution, but a revolutionary spirit is dangerous. You are pleased when men seek justice, but it so easily transforms into a lack of love. Love, meanwhile, can so easily be exploited. There is much love for the nation, but this can be pressed by contrary visions for her good. Let their love be for righteousness, for goodness, for mercy, for forgiveness – and may wisdom show them how to apply these for the sake of Egypt. Revolutions may fail, God, but love will not.

But love may suffer. Today, God, may they not. Keep them safe. Build Egypt once again. Preserve this nation in dignity, with all her people.  

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Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

My sour, heavy feelings returned this week. They were last suffered during the days of revolution, but resurfaced after over a thousand people were injured in clashes with the police. There appears to be good evidence of manipulation, but the protests were largely spontaneous, as they touched those most pure in the whole process: the families of the martyred revolutionary youth.

God, these cry out for justice, but when should it come? Does the delay in prosecuting officers who killed their children stem from a commitment to due process, or a lack of will? Give them patience, and increase their courage. Help their demands to be issued from a heart of forgiveness. Cleanse them from any hatred, however justified. Protect them from becoming pawns; enable them to become beacons. May these be the models upon which you build a new society.

God, many revolutionaries rushed to their defense – did they do so wisely? These are still largely leaderless, capable of being swayed by rumors. Honor their zeal, God, but give them wisdom. So many conspiracies abound, and so much is at stake. These desire the good of Egypt, but cannot represent the whole of the people. Yet in the chaos that ensues, some, perhaps many, turn against them.

Keep them pure in heart, God. Those others may manipulate and compromise, their only strength is moral. Help them not to lose this, nor their faith in the goodness of others, even if they find it wanting. May they love their fellow citizens, even those they believe are against them. May their heart not be hardened, even as their will stays sharp.

God, bless the police who inflicted these injuries. They must be very confused; given a free hand in the past, how must they behave now? What can be done when under attack? Their conduct is the result of training, however faulty. They carry out the orders of those believed by revolutionaries to be corrupt. Who can blame them for choosing the side they do, when all is not clear?

Give them clarity, God. Give them respect for law, citizenry, and authority. Give them patience in the face of hatred from the people. Have them confess their sins, but carry out the sanctity of their position. They represent order, God, and you are a God of order. May this be reestablished in Egypt, for the safety of all, police included.

God, bless the leadership of this nation. Having earlier been heralded, some are now criticizing, even impugning their intensions. It is the way of the army to lack transparency; but it is the way of leadership to disclose your heart. This tension cannot be easy for them. The task at hand is too great for any to bear.

May it be borne by all, God. Grant the leaders wisdom. There are conspiracies; there are manipulations. There are pressures and inducements and all manner of interests to balance. Help them to shape Egypt for her best future. Help them to rebuild what was broken in the revolution, and what decayed over the decades. Keep them, God, on the right path, no matter the temptations they must face. We lack knowledge of this path, God, while many assume they know it well. Give them of your perspective, God, and help them to lead well.

In the midst of all this, God, instances of religious tension reemerged also. Give the people love one to the other, God. May each find that which is best in his religion, and treat others as they would wish to be treated. Let not the people be divided needlessly.

God, when times are trying, help each to look inside himself, and be committed to the best of his nature. Help each to look to you, and be committed to the principles which lead to peace. God, protect Egypt; honor her people. Do not repay her according to her sins, but be merciful and gracious. To such a great extent, God, you have. Do not withdraw your favor, we ask you humbly. Bless Egypt, God, and may you be praised.

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Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

There was much in the way of politics this week, and it is difficult to pray for politics. Like everywhere, politics is about wrangling, rhetoric, and the promotion of good through the lens of interest. If party to a position one can ask your favor; if not, wisdom can be sought for all.

Yet unique to Egypt is the newness of the experience. Politics here is not over this or that law, or this or that policy; it is more foundational. What type of government is best? Can the political ‘opponent’ be trusted? Who represents the popular will, and who betrays it? Who represents the revolutionary will, and who betrays it?

God, who can know? So much of this politics is projected populism, built on assumptions with no case history. The issues, God, are so important; but are they also trivial? Is it good that such divisions emerge among politicians, or is the fractured unity too much to bear?

God, some wish a return to basics. They call for an end to corruption, trials for former regime members, reform in the security services, and social justice to reach the poor. These believe that politics is distracting from the real issues.

God, who can know? There was clarity during the revolution, even if vision was short-term. Now, in seeking long-term structures, clarity has dissipated.

God, you know humanity, and you know what is best. Perhaps you have designed us so that wrangling, rhetoric, and the promotion of good through the lens of interest are exactly what moves society forward.

If so, make this process transparent. Make it clean and honest. May the best man win.

But in prayer, God, we return also to basics. Bless the leaders of Egypt; give them wisdom to conduct affairs of the nation well. Give the people of this land love for one another. Establish peace; protect security. Lift up the poor from their troubles, and lead those well-off to share.

God, bless Egypt. Have mercy on her, grant her grace, so that she may be strong according to your will. May this strength inhabit all citizens, and from humility, help them serve the common good.

Categories
Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Give Egypt a good president, a good parliament, and a good constitution. Give her the wisdom to know in which order to start. So many are divided on this matter, and it is of utmost importance for the future of the country. Personal interests, party politics, and popular sovereignty all confuse the issue concerning what is best for Egypt. Yet this is exactly what we ask: Good men in all these roles, serving a good document built on national consensus.

Guide Egypt, God, to such consensus; raise up the men and women who can lead her there.

God, give Egypt security. Thank you for progress made. Hundreds of criminals have been arrested. Alleged terrorists have been apprehended returning from abroad. Prosecution has begun for those accused of sectarian attacks. Citizen groups are partnering with police. Yet thousands of criminals are still at large, and accusations of police brutality linger. Egypt has much to change from its previous policy; much to rebuild following the revolution.  

God, help her to do so. May the people live in peace, secure in the rule of law, consciously applied.

God, thank you for all that has taken place, both the good and the bad. May people trust your sovereignty, and confidently work on behalf of greater principles. Honor the many good people here, God, who wish the best for their nation. Rebuke, forgive, and guide those who mix their efforts with private gains or narrow interests.

God, give wisdom to Egyptians, to the coming electorate, to be able to tell the difference between them.

Amen.

Categories
Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

To some degree, it is difficult to know what to pray for. Perhaps this issues from a privileged vantage point. Many of the troubles of the country are difficult to see from where we sit.

But God, we hear of them. We hear of a troubled economy which hits hardest upon the poor. We hear of fights with police with some reluctant to – or unable to – impose order. We hear of thugs who impose their will on certain areas.

It is a sad prayer, God, but thank you for shielding us, and many, perhaps even most – from these troubles. May our thanks become tangible in prayers for them, and in creativity to know what we can do to help.

Perhaps part of helping is in celebrating what is good. It is in remaining positive and vigilant. It is in keeping faith with you and with humanity. No true opportunity comes without struggle. People are struggling; struggling to keep hope. Strengthen them, God. Encourage and uplift them. Most have been good. This merits no reward; yet increase to them your grace.

Flood your grace upon Egypt’s leaders, God. Give them all wisdom to guide the people through to a new constitution, new elections, and new government. Give them knowledge to weigh the different proposals before them, politically and economically. Give them discernment to judge between those who wish to curry their favor, as well as those who offer help with undisclosed motives. Give them integrity to resist the corruption that comes so easily with power.

God, where there is confusion, give vision. Where there is worry, give peace. Make the people one, God, and make the country whole. May it be a place in which you take pleasure.

Amen.

Categories
Current Events Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Things seemed calmer this week, so thank you. Yet it was probably a surface calm, in which tensions and frustrations linger, either unexpressed or else un-received. This can be even more damaging to trust; when communication stalls, assumptions can take over.

There were some efforts to connect between distanced parties, but it is hard to know what to make of them. God, help each to know their role, which is so difficult when all is subject to redefinition. Help the wise to listen; help the young to respect their elders. Help each to value the other, while keeping each accountable in their proper roles. Perhaps you alone, God, know what these are. Communicate your thoughts to all, for the blessing of Egypt.

Meanwhile, amidst internal questions, foreign diplomacy continues. So many wish to place Egypt within their defined interests; enticements abound. God you know what Egypt needs; you know what is right in this world. Help Egypt to know herself, and what she should be. Help her to play a role of peace in the region; help her to work for justice.

God, we don’t know what is coming. Some are hopeful, others fear. Yet in the present, Egypt needs safety; she needs security. We don’t know why it is sometimes lacking. We thank you that so often life proceeds as normal. Bless the people for their goodness of character; many others would have yielded to their baser natures already.

God, for those who have, deny them. Confuse them. Convict them. Change them. Forgive them. Do not allow them to spoil Egypt.

Stay with this country, God. Walk with her as she moves through troubling, but promising, times. Give patience, give wisdom, give hope. Give courage and conviction. Give humility. May Egypt reflect your desires for this world. May she be a beacon and encouragement to all.

 

Categories
Prayers

Friday Prayers for Egypt

God,

Things don’t feel right, but that doesn’t mean they are wrong. Many people have a disquiet about the state of their nation, and some are starting to point fingers.

Some fingers point to the army. People fear there is leniency toward the former regime. People fear they are not committed to the goals of the revolution. People fear they are playing games with security, and playing favorites in partisan interest.

God, may it not be so. Help people to keep the balance necessary in obeying the leaders appointed them while simultaneously holding them accountable. Give wisdom to the army to balance between its many pressures to establish the coming society, felt diversely both internally and externally. Many clamor for their interest; help the army to keep the interest of Egypt primary.

Some fingers point to the media. People fear the news is engineered to produce desired reactions. People fear their statements are taken out of context. People fear they advance agendas rather than report reality.

God, may it not be so. Help those who influence the views of millions to yield to their consciences and honor the truth. Give them conviction and integrity to perform their job well. Help their biases, altogether natural, to be subjected to the story.

Some fingers point to Islamist parties. People fear they will win the coming elections substantially, and then organize society according to their convictions. People fear they are not sincere when discussing democracy. People fear that having been long oppressed, they may soon oppress in turn.

Some fingers point to liberal parties. People fear they deny you and the place of religion in society. People fear they represent a current foreign to Egypt. People fear they seek to craft the new state from the vision of the elite minority, not from the voice of the people.

God, may it not be so. Give pure hearts to all politicians. Help these to put the common interests of Egypt above any particular vision. Help them to balance what they believe you want them to do, with the fact that others disagree about your will. Help the people to trust, to believe, to work together, yet to be wise and wary. Make politicians worthy of this trust.

God, it appears society is dividing. For politics this is natural and good; for a nascent state it is dangerous. Help people to forge strong bonds of common commitment. Help people to get to know one another across ideological and religious lines. May that which is right and good triumph, and may all be convinced of it. May selfish ambition be exposed and defeated. May each honor the good present wherever it is found. May blessings abound, one to another.

God, many fear. Replace this with hope. Replace this with love. Prepare for Egypt the future you desire.

Amen.